A Guide to Sustainable Housing
Guest post by Matt Reilly
Matt is a home improvement and design writer working for Reilly Roofing and Gutters, TX. He promotes sustainable living through the use of eco-friendly technology in everyday life.
In recent decades the world has seen a (much-needed) surge in environmentally-conscious decision making. Individuals have taken it upon themselves to embody the green revolution through a myriad of daily choices from the food they eat, to the way they manage their waste, to the clothing they add to their wardrobes.
However, while we edit our lifestyles to reduce our environmental footprints, our homes often lag behind. That poses the question, what if our homes could be as eco-friendly as we are? The good news is, they can be!
What Defines Sustainable Housing?
Traditionally, the process of building a home has had a huge impact on the environment as the construction process is both resource intensive and wasteful. However, it does not need to be this way! By designing housing with sustainability in mind, we are able to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generation to survive and thrive.
Green homes are a great alternative to conventional homes in every application. Not only can homeowners boast reduced resource use and waste during construction, but they can also enjoy prolonged energy and water savings, a higher standard of living and many financial benefits.
“Green homes are a great alternative to conventional homes in every application.”
How to Start “Building” a Better Future
- Call a professional: As sustainable housing continues to take shape, its competitive advantage will be clear and traditional home building will become a thing of the past. Eco-friendly builders and architects are making a rise and finding one in your local area should not be a problem.
- Off-the-grid: If you have the motivation and resources, why not build your own sustainable home. You can find inspiration from around the world and design an off-the-grid home to suit your needs.
- Tiny houses: Downsizing the space you live in has become a social movement. Choosing a tiny home can simplify one’s life and cut environmental impact.
- Renovation: If building from scratch is out of the option, you can always choose to renovate your home with sustainability in mind.
Main Features of Sustainable Homes
Whether you are calling in the professionals or doing small renovations yourself, here are some key features of sustainable homes to keep in mind.
- Design: Ensure that new rooms or structures are designed to be an appropriate size (not too big!) and with energy efficiency in mind.
- Building materials: Select renewable or recycled building materials. Look into green alternatives to concrete, source your timber wisely, and choose non-toxic paints and finishes.
- Energy generation: Depending on your location you may have several options available in terms of renewable energy. Do your research on solar panels, wind power and micro-hydro and enjoy reduced energy bills forever!
- Water management: Install a rainwater collection and greywater system to reduce water usage. If you are thinking about putting a pool in your garden, look into eco-pools.
- Lighting: Use energy efficient lighting and install motion sensors to ensure that lights are not left on unnecessarily.
- Heating and cooling: Ensure that your home is properly insulated to reduce the need for heating and cooling. If you must install a cooling system consider a ceiling fan or energy efficient air conditioner.
- Appliances: When upgrading your appliances ensure that they have a 5-star energy rating.
Although they might come with a higher initial price tag, sustainable homes are undoubtedly more beneficial for both homeowners and the environment in the long term. Therefore, if you are planning to make an investment in building or renovating your home it is best to go green! By starting with these tips and taking into consideration your local environment, you can create a home that is green and efficient for decades to come.
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